Autumn is known for its pumpkins and gourds, but what produce is in-season in the winter?
Plenty of comforting foods that make up the perfect ingredients for a cozy meal. When it’s cold
outside, warmth is something you seek. Curl up next to the fire and enjoy the freshest flavors
from the following winter meals.

Nothing is more comforting in the cold of the wintertime than a big steaming bowl of creamy
soup. At the peak of freshness this time of year, versatile parsnips make a delicious soup when
roasted. The flavor of these root vegetables, much like carrots, is accented well with seasonings
like nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice, evoking the taste of the holidays on a spoon.

A hot appetizer menu item, especially in the South, is brussel sprouts. Most often oven-roasted
and seasoned with a hint of bacon, these sprouts are a delicious precursor to southern-cooked
comfort food like fried chicken and mac and cheese. Pro tip: the smaller the brussel sprout, the
more tender and flavorful!

Citrusy fruits may seem like a refreshing summer treat, but oranges and mandarin oranges are
best enjoyed in the winter months. A warm, early morning treat of gooey orange cinnamon
rolls with a frosted glaze will make even the coziest cuddlebugs get out of their warm beds for a
taste. Oranges are also the perfect cocktail add-in to warm up your winter event.

As a starchy substitute to the white potato, turn any meal from boring to exquisite with just a
simple replacement – the sweet potato. We suggest turning a traditional sweet potato into
cubed hash with rosemary, kale and caramelized onions. The best part of this meal? It can be
served with breakfast, lunch or dinner!

Did we leave off your favorite winter ingredient?
Tweet us your #1 cold weather food at @TheGICC!

 

One of our favorite things about sharing our love for catering is how playful we can be with food puns! Here is a look back at some of our top picks from this year.

Morning event? Don’t settle for anything less than an egg-cellent breakfast.

 

Our catering and your event will go really “gouda” together.

 

Picky eater? We’ll customize the menu however you like. We don’t “carrot” all!

 

We just ‘cant’aloupe with how fresh our produce is and you won’t be able to either.

 

Leave attendees feeling stuffed. Choose to cater with CulinAero.

 

Our catering is sure to “appeal” to your attendees.

 

Event planning has you feeling green? “Romaine” calm. “Lettuce” take care of the catering.

 

“Grape” events start with a little cheese.

 

Donut even try to pretend you’re not hungry right now.

 

Don’t be “shellfish.” Offer our shrimp appetizer to all of your attendees.

 

Have a favorite food pun? Share it with us @TheGICC.

5 Rules for Perfect Catering

November 20, 2017

Meetings and conference events have evolved quite a bit over the years moving away from those boring sandwich platters. Instead, teams take this opportunity to treat employees, clients and attendees to an out-of-office experience offering better menus, a fun atmosphere and top notch technology. Although, most would agree that food plays the biggest role in the success of an event, which is why we created the ultimate catering cheat sheet for planning made easy.

Rule #1: Budget

The phrase “champagne taste on a beer budget” is all too familiar in the catering industry. There are simple ways to conserve on food without skimping on quality. Use passed hors d’oeuvres instead of buffet style. Opt for small plates to help stretch consumption. At CulinAero, we will design a meal and menu to impress within your budget.

Rule #2: Choose a Theme

This concept might seem a bit childish, but deciding on a theme sets the vibe for the event and can bring excitement to mealtime! It also helps guide the direction of decorations, floral arrangements and the menu itself. If it’s more of a social event, the food should be playful and trendy. For a professional conference, dining may be more suitable for a sit-down, traditional lunch.

Rule #3: Set the Bar

This depends entirely on the type of event you are hosting and it objectives. Decide how you want to proceed with offering libations to your guest. If you choose an open bar option, you can select a balanced drink list that caters to everyone’s needs, from beer and wine only, a signature cocktail, and/or well liquor. If it’s not in your budget, provide a cash bar option. If hosting a cash bar, make sure that your attendees are aware, so they can plan accordingly. Alternatively, you can meet in the middle with a “half and half” option. Offer attendees one or two free drink tickets, then open a cash bar. This lightens the mood of requiring attendees to pay for their drinks.

Rule #4: Schedule

Sure, caterers are responsible for keeping your attendees well fed, but you might not realize there’s more to it than that. Timing is everything. You want to make sure they are retaining the information instead of focusing on their salad dressing. Receiving the agenda in advance can help reduce a lack of concentration and minimize irritability all while enabling the caterers to serve the food when it is freshly prepared.

Rule #5: Go Green

The GICC and CulinAero are ready to roll out the green carpet for your event. In fact, choosing a more sustainable means of service is not only easy on the environment, but also on the budget. Using packaging that is biodegradable, serving foods that are locally produced, sourced and eco-friendly will go a long way.

Need help planning your next catering event? Tweet us at @TheGICC.

 

Meeting planners, it’s cold outside! Help attendees escape the winter weather with a DIY warm beverage.
Plan a festive hot cocoa bar for your event with this cheat sheet!

Supplies:
Hot Cocoa and/or Coffee
Cups
Spoons
Napkins
Table Decorations (pine needles and cranberries)

 

 

Toppings:
Marshmallows
Whipped Cream
Chocolate Chips
Peppermint Sticks (Bonus! Doubles as a stirring stick)

 

 

Add-ins:
Milk (include non-dairy options, like coconut or almond milk)
Chocolate Syrup
Ground cinnamon
Adult add-ins!
Bailey’s
Kahlua
Amaretto
Frangelico
Vanilla Vodka
Peppermint Schnapps

We can’t wait to see what you come up with! Tweet us your own hot cocoa bar at @TheGICC.

Cater to Cranberry Cravings

November 14, 2017

Trends may come and go, but cranberries have been a staple in holiday menus for centuries. Believed to have been served at the first Thanksgiving dinner, it’s no wonder we see these tart little berries appear in dishes, drinks and desserts from November to December. (Bonus: cranberries are an easy way to incorporate cost-friendly and seasonal produce into your catering menu!)

Dish

Cranberry sauce is done again and again, each year. Don’t bore your attendees with the same old thing. Why not garnish a classic vegetable side with a cran twist? Try a new take on green beans with the addition of cranberries and slivered almonds.

Source locally, then string and cut your green beans before either sauteing or roasting as normal, preferably with garlic. Once cooked, add your green beans to a large bowl or serving dish and toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, slivered almonds dried cranberries. Want to make it tad more savory? Crumble up and top the dish off with some bacon!

Drink

Cranberries are the ultimate garnish and flavoring for big batch cocktails! Make it easy by mixing ginger ale, cranberry juice, vodka (or gin) and fresh lime juice. Top with whole frozen cranberries, lime slices, green pear and a sprig of greenery. Take the cocktail from big pictures to mason jars for some character!

Dessert

Keep dessert bite-sized with Cranberry tarts, bars, cookies or mini cheesecakes! There are so many ways you can take a classic dessert you may already be serving and top them with cranberries for a holiday twist.

Which cranberry dishes would you like to see included on your holiday menu? Tweet us at @TheGICC!

CulinAero offers an array of standard menus to choose from, but when your event is anything but ordinary you need an extraordinary custom menu to match. You can capture your vision with a perfectly crafted catering menu after asking yourself a few simple questions.

What is the event?

Are you planning a banquet with a 4,000 person guest list? Or, perhaps a trade show spanning several exhibit halls? Every event is characterized by its own unique needs and its own culinary solution. You may find that pre-determined plated meals are better suited for your sit down banquet, while grab-and-go bites are best for a trade show.

How long will the event last?

A couple hours versus a couple days can completely change your catering strategy. A longer event can provide opportunity for experimentation in menu themes. Ultimately, be aware of your event’s length so you can provide guests with sufficient amounts and types of food to keep energy high and monotony away.

What time of day is the event?

If your event falls between meal times, guests may not need this same amount of food as they would expect during a traditional meal time. While it may seem obvious that a morning event and a night event will have very different menus, a midday event could have a brunch menu, a lunch menu or a dinner menu. Considering the type of event, you may find a traditional boxed lunch fits the bill for one event while a premium brunch buffet is perfect for another. The options are endless, but considering the time and length of the event can help narrow it down.

Who is coming?

Know your guests. A convention with a millennial demographic may appreciate theatrics in food presentation or trendier foods they can post on social media, while a suit-and-tie corporate meeting might prefer something more traditional that is simply easy to eat. Also consider your guests’ dietary needs and restrictions to ensure everyone has ample options.

During which season will the event be held?

Warm soups during a summer event? Ice cream bar at a winter event? Don’t forget to consider the time of year and potential weather conditions. Hot, savory foods tend to complement the colder months, while cold, refreshing foods are crowd-pleasers in the hot months. Additionally, stay sustainable by choosing seasonal produce for the main ingredients. While it may not be impossible to provide an out-of-season ingredient, it is typically more cost-effective to stay local and seasonal.

CulinAero specializes in exceptional custom menus using in-season ingredients and produce. If you would prefer a pre-made menu, our variety of standard menus feature everything from buffets to beverage service. Schedule a private tasting to sample our creations and begin crafting the perfect menu for your event.

Join the catering conversation by tweeting @TheGICC.

Parlay Your Parfait

October 15, 2017

Healthy and refreshing or decadent and sweet, parfaits are an underrated treat that your meeting and event attendees are sure to enjoy. Plus, they’re simple to make! Serve them for breakfast, or whip up a sweet recipe and wow your guests with a mouthwatering dessert. Not sure where to start? We have a few ideas…

For Breakfast: A dash of granola with fresh fruit and yogurt is all you need, but a little creativity can go a long way. Your attendees will go bananas over this recipe.

Banana Split Breakfast Jar

Ingredients
1 16oz. mason jar
1 small banana, sliced
1 cup whole strawberries, sliced
½ cup vanilla greek yogurt
1 tablespoon chocolate chips or cacao nibs

Instructions
Place ½ of the banana slices in the bottom of the mason jar.
Alternate layers with half of the vanilla greek yogurt and strawberries. Then, top with the rest of the bananas and strawberries, finishing with the chocolate chips.

For Dessert: Parfaits are dessert made easy, and the possibilities are endless. Try this simple favorite!

Strawberry Jell-O Parfait

Ingredients
1 package (3 oz.) Strawberry Jell-O
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
1 cup thawed Cool Whip whipped topping

Instructions
Prepare Jell-O according to package directions. Set aside 1/3 cup.
Add fruit to remaining Jell-O and spoon into 4 to 5 dessert or wine glasses. Chill glasses at an angle until jello is set (overnight is best) Fold whipped topping into remaining (1/3 cup) Jell-O. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For a little something extra:
Great creative with the way you’re serving your libations.

Oreo Cookie Crumble

Ingredients
15 Oreos
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 cup milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream very chilled
1/3 cup Baileys very chilled
1/4 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

Crush the Oreo cookies into crumbles, then set aside.
Place chopped semi-sweet chocolate in a small bowl. Heat milk until steaming, then pour over chocolate. Let sit for 2-3 minutes, then stir. Set aside and let cool to room temperature.
Using a stand mixer, add in chilled heavy cream, Baileys, and powdered sugar and beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 5 – 7 minutes.
Divide cream mixture in half. The first half of the whipped cream will be left alone and is ready to use in the parfait. The second half will be mixed with the chocolate. When ready, slowly add the chocolate mixture over this half of the whipped cream, gently (yet thoroughly) folding them together until completely mixed.
Parfaits can be served immediately. If you’d like the chocolate layer to be firmer, chill parfaits for 2-3 hours before serving.

Have your own way to party with parfaits? Tweet us at @TheGICC!


The best thing about meeting in the Georgia International Convention Center? We like to think it’s the food. That’s not something you hear often when meeting in convention centers! From culinary confections to savory sips, when you’re in the South it’s your obligation to treat members to memorable meals. While you’re sipping on sweet tea and snacking on pimento cheese spread, we can help you whip up a menu oozing with Southern charm.

1. When it comes to selecting a dinner menu, you can’t go wrong with a classic fried chicken dish. Our CulinAero locally raised fried chicken comes complete with buttermilk mashed potatoes smothered in pepper gravy.

2. Every true Southerner will argue that their state is home to the best BBQ, but you’ll make peace with members when you serve this popular lunch item in a Southern skillet. Try some pulled BBQ pork with country-style collard greens, mac and cheese, Georgia farm fresh coleslaw and add some kick with jalapeño cornbread.

3. A Southern meal is not complete without dessert. Georgia is known as the “Peach State,” so you can’t have a meeting here without adding this Atlanta staple to your menu. Tap into tradition with Georgia peach cobbler or mini pecan pies.

Choose from our Southern Favorites, True Comfort Food or Atlanta Classic menu selections or make a menu all your own. Need some inspiration? Take to Pinterest and share your challenge with us at @TheGICC.

Fall is finally here, and with it comes the appetizing aroma of dishes adorned with seasonal produce. From butternut squash and brussel sprouts to pumpkin and sweet potatoes, serving up seasonal ingredients will have attendees falling for your event. Satisfy those savory cravings with these autumn recipes.

Butternut Squash & Bacon Fall Breakfast Hash

● In large skillet, cook bacon and onions over medium-to-high heat, stirring occasionally until the bacon begins to crisp and onions becomes translucent. Remove from pan and set aside. Leave bacon grease in pan.
● Add butternut squash to pan in an even layer. Cook over medium-to-high heat until browned and tender, stirring occasionally and adding oil if needed.
● Return the bacon and onions to the pan with the squash. Cook an additional 5 minutes.
● With a spoon, move ingredients in pan around to make 4 circular spaces. Crack and drop eggs in spaces then cover. Cook eggs to preference.
● Remove from heat. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Pumpkin Crostini with Arugula Pesto

● Heat up the oven to 390° F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
● Wash butternut pumpkin / squash and cut into 0.5” slices. Space evenly on the pan, brush the slices with olive oil, season with salt and bake for 30-40 mins in the preheated oven, flipping the slices to the other side halfway through baking time. Pumpkin is ready once the flesh is soft and caramelized.
● Place dry arugula, garlic and toasted walnuts in a herb chopper with olive oil. Blend into a fine pesto. Season with lemon juice, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar and nutritional yeast.
● Toast a few bread slices, top with hummus or ricotta and caramelized pumpkin slices. Season with black pepper, drizzle with arugula pesto and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and toasted pine nuts.

Maple-Glazed Chicken with Sweet Potatoes

● Prepare sweet potatoes in microwave or oven, based on conventional cooking instruction.
● Meanwhile, lightly coat chicken breasts with steak seasoning. Heat butter in large skillet over medium-to-high heat; add chicken. Cook 5 to 6 minutes until no longer pink (170ºF), turning once halfway through cooking. Remove from skillet; cover and keep warm. Stir maple syrup into hot skillet; cook 2 minutes. Stir in green onions.
● Divide chicken and potatoes among 4 plates. Drizzle with maple syrup mixture.

Have more favorite fall catering recipes? Tweet us at @TheGICC!


Skip the boring soup and salad and opt for these inventive bites that will leave your guests buzzing for more.

Hors d’oeuvres set the tone for every attendee’s favorite part of the agenda – meal time! Make a good first impression by serving dishes that reflect the season, location or theme of the event. You might even consider eliminating your event’s sit-down dinner in favor of an evening of appetizers. Doing so not only allows for more creativity, but can also be easier on your event budget.

Smoothie Samplers

Early morning meetings make it easy to forget the most important meal of the day. Incorporate an art-themed event into the catering menu by filling up mini paint buckets with refreshing strawberry smoothie samplers.

Mini Chicken and Waffles

Who says you can’t eat breakfast for dinner? This Southern brunch favorite offers the perfect balance of savory and sweet.

Fried Oysters

Presentation is key when it comes to party foods. A stunning way to serve oysters is by re-using their shells. Bonus: they also serve as the plate.

Mini Grilled Corn on the Cob

These mini cobs are perfect to serve as a grab-and-go option and much easier to eat than trying to serve the whole ear. Keep a pat of butter nearby for attendees to add to their liking.

Edible Bouquets

Table settings don’t have to be just something to look at. Give your party a fresh treat to indulge in before the main course.

Looking for more inventive, bite-sized dishes or have an idea of your own? Tweet us at @TheGICC. Our catering team is ready to serve!